By Joan Alperin Schwartz: 'Cars 2' is the new 3D wonder from director John Lasseter. John and his crew at Pixar have once again proven why they are the best at what they do.
To really enjoy this film, you have to put aside any ideas that cars can't talk, can't have friends and girlfriends, can't experience human emotions and can't be killer spies. (Something the other half of Two Jews On Film, John my husband, wasn't able to do).
Anyway, the story goes like this...Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) is the snazzy, red, highly acclaimed racing car. After winning four Piston cups, Lightning is finally back home in Radiator Springs and all he wants to do is spend time with his girlfriend Sally, (Bonnie Hunt) a super hot, baby-blue, Porsche 911 Carrera and hang with his best friend Mater (Larry The Cable Guy).
For those of you who haven't seen the first 'Cars', Mater is a rusted, dented, buck tooth, Tow Truck and owner of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage. Mater is down home country...naive, sweet and totally unassuming. He would do anything for Lightning...and he does.
Lightning's vacation is shortlived, when the cocky, lime green, Italian Racing Champ, Francesco Bernoulli (John Turturro) challenges him to a compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix...a race created to determine the world's fastest car and one that takes place in several countries...Tokyo, Paris, the Italian Riviera and London.
Mater tags along, gets mistaken for an undercover American agent by two British spies working in the field...Finn McMissile (Michael Caine) and Holley Shiftwell, (Emily Mortimer). And that's when the fun really kicks into high gear.
Former oil baron, turned electric car (Eddie Izzard) has created an organic fuel. Unfortunately, the cars that use this fuel, are exploding. Not a good thing. Is there some sinister force behind all this? Well, you're just going to have to see 'Cars 2' to find out.
Besides having great action, beautiful scenery, and adrenalin charged chase sequences, Pixar's design team has come up with brilliant, innovative ideas. They've managed the car-ification of some of Europe's most familiar landmarks...
For example...London's Big Ben is now called Big Bentley...St. Paul's Cathedral is shaped like a car's differential gear casing and the top of the Eiffel Tower, is in the shape of a 1930's European spark plug. There are even Geisha cars in Tokyo as well as talking airplanes and ships.
The film also has great messages for kids...the value of friendship, overcoming your fears and being comfortable in your own skin.
The actors that provide the voices for the cars, boats, and planes are absolutely wonderful. Some of the standouts are... Thomas Kretschmann, Joe Mantegna, Eddie Izzard, Jeff Garlin, Tony Shaloub, Cheech Marin, and Vanessa Redgrave as the Queen of England.
This is our 100th review and I'm so happy that I get to review a film that is more than worthy of my 5 bagel rating. 'Cars 2' opens in theaters Friday, June 24, 2011.